by Sara Illig
“The cause of all negative emotions is a disruption in the body’s energy system,” says the founder of Emotional Freedom Techniques, Gary Craig.
Since beginning my practice in 1996, I have tried to assist my clients in every aspect of finding well-being. Since many things were outside of my scope of practice as a massage therapist, I began researching ways to help through other avenues, such as traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and psychological approaches seeking to explore the physiology of healing. Why was anger showing up as physical pain? Why, when a person is a pain in the neck, does one’s neck actually reflect that pain during massage? It wasn’t difficult to put it together as a mere observer, but to the client it was a mystery.
Stress, anxiety, and emotional ruts all manifest in the body in some way. While stress is a given in our culture, the idea that stress and emotional trauma have a physical manifestation have not always been recognized.
In 2005 a friend introduced me to EFT, Emotional Freedom Technique, known today simply as “Tapping.” This innovative therapy helped reduce the discomfort trapped in my tissue by using the very simple method of talk therapy while tapping on meridian points. It quickly relieved my PTSD, anxiety, and depression, opening new doors to the new life before me; for this I will be forever grateful. It also made me realize the importance of sharing the technique with those willing to give it a try.
As I conducted my own experiments, I witnessed firsthand that this modality was effective in addressing more than just depression and anxiety. It worked for neck pain, but also treated chronic pain, eased a chronic case of Bell’s palsy, and helped clients cope with phobias and relationship troubles, enhanced performance, and aided to enhance health and well-being in many more ways. As described in the EFT philosophy as presented by Gary Craig and in Clinical EFT as presented by my mentor, Dawson Church, issues originating in past events created unrelenting emotional or physical discomfort.
What this means for the vast majority of us is that to truly shift our physiology, we must unpack our emotional baggage.
This is often not easy to do.It can be overwhelming to review our long histories—experiences accumulated over many years, and we may find that understanding our emotional patterns is like trying to fine-tune a single instrument amid the cacophony of an inharmonic orchestra. Most people simply cannot do this without training, instead ending up on antidepressants or other mood-stabilizers. These medications can turn down the noise in the short term, but they do not always prove successful in the long term.
In order to truly feel well and be well, we have to listen to our inner dialogues and consult our emotions and physical sensations: we have to do the work. This is where EFT comes in.
EFT is a self-help technique incorporating a needle-less form of acupuncture that involves tapping on meridian or acupressure points, in combination with exposure therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy. It offers a clear format for loving and accepting one’s self and aspects of our experiences to release trauma and pain-filled memories. Once these traumatic experiences are neutralized, healing occurs.
EFT’s basic approach first guides you to identify a specific ailment or issue or problem. Then you reflect on your issue while tapping on specific meridian points.
An example of the sequence is as follows:
H – top of the head
EB – inner edge of the eyebrow
SE – side of the eye
UE – under the eye
UN – under the nose
CH – center of chin
US- under the arm
While tapping rhythmically on the points, repeat the guiding phrase
Even though I have this __________________, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.
This simple sequence, and the guiding phrases, are often enough to provide relief, but there are variations and an extension of the patterns for repetition. All the pieces can then be integrated for a more in-depth experience and greater effectiveness.
When seeking a professional EFT practitioner, gauge your chemistry and ensure you are comfortable with them . This is crucial because you will be sharing your most private feelings. A good practitioner will help you get to the heart of your issues by asking the right questions and honoring the fact that you are a complex creature. Being at ease with your practitioner will support your willingness to delve more deeply into your truth and will therefore facilitate a greater and speedier recovery and healing journey.